Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Bruce Springsteen - River Plate Stadium Amnesty International (1988)

This is, finally, the recording of Springsteen's set from the Amnesty International concert in 1988 that was televised at the time at featured an energetic and enthusiastic performance from Springsteen in front of a huge, lively Argentinian crowd.

The sound quality is, as is often the case on these "legal but not official" old radio transmissions (or even on Springsteen's official live downloads) is certainly not "audiophile", but, as far as i am concerned, it is fine for me. It has a real live atmosphere to it, and Springsteen is a live performer who is all about the sheer "oomph" of the performance as opposed to audiophonic perfection. The sound is punchy, with good bass reproduction and solidity. As I said, fine by me. Incidentally, there are two of these recordings around, this one has the better, clearer, louder sound.

The set kicks off with a muscular "Born In The USA" and the anthemic "The Promised Land". Other highlights are the rocking, joie de vivre of "Cadillac Ranch" followed by Edwin Starr's "War", an excellent duet with Sting on "The River" and a wonderful conclusion of Eddie Floyd's "Raise Your Hand", an extended "Twist And Shout" and the final, rousing cover of Bob Dylan's "Chimes Of Freedom", which features Tracy Chapman, Sting and Peter Gabriel, among others, taking turns of lead vocals. Great Stuff. I have wanted to get hold of this version of the song for ages, because, infuriatingly, on the video of the concert, the credits roll and it gets cut off after a minute or two.

Springsteen, as always, puts so much energy and commitment into his performance it takes your breath away. Only a performer as dynamic as he is can inject so much power and verve into a decidedly average track like "Cover Me", which just comes alive here.


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